All countries have their culinary specialities like complete dishes or ingredients that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. Naturally, Hungary also has plenty, from which the most popular — among Hungarians at least — is maybe a type of cheese most often translated as cottage cheese in English or crème fraîche in French. Still, none of these translations actually completely describe túró.
Young and fresh types of cheeses are the most commonly consumed ones in Hungary. Túró is definitely one of them giving half of the total yearly cheese consumption of the country. It is very far from the traditional cottage cheese known all around the world. Túró is a fresh, soft curd cheese similar to farmers cheese. It is mostly made from cow milk but of course, can be prepared from sheep or goat milk as well.
It is an extremely widely used ingredient, the main component of several very popular Hungarian dishes. The good thing about túró is that it does not have a basic salty flavour as in the case of most cheeses, which allows it to be used for both savoury and sweet dishes.
But we have to be careful! If we want the real taste of these dishes, we need to use authentic Hungarian túró that can not be found in any supermarkets outside of the country.
No worries, we can prepare it at home the old-fashioned way. All we need is the freshest and highest-fat whole raw milk, a cheesecloth and quite a lot of patience. Start by pouring the milk into a pot, cover it and let it sit for two days. Then on the lowest heat of your stove start heating the milk for about 1-2 hours without stirring so the whey can separate from the curds. When the curds are set on the bottom of your pot in a huge clump, remove it from the heat. Next, put your cheesecloth in a bowl, scoop the curds from the pot into the cloth then tie it up over the bowl to drain the whey. It usually takes a couple of days, the longer you let it sit, the drier your cheese will be. And there you go, the perfect ingredient for a lot of Hungarian recipes.
Now that we have our delicious túró, we can start cooking and transforming it into even more delicious dishes or desserts.
Like Túrós Batyu which are big bundles made from a light yeast dough and filled with vanilla flavoured cottage cheese cream. Sprinkling the bundles with raisin is optional but highly recommended.
Sounds delicious, right? Here is the recipe to make them.
For the dough:
For the filling :
Dissolve yeast with a half tablespoon of sugar in lukewarm milk.
Soak raisins in tepid water.
Sift the flour in a bowl. Add the two tablespoons of sugar, a pinch of salt, egg and the activated yeast and start to knead.
When the ingredients are well combined, and the dough begins to hold together, pour in melted butter and knead until smooth and elastic. Cover and let it rise until doubled.
In the meantime, make the filling. Combine túró, vanilla, lemon juice, sugar, egg and raisins. Set aside.
On a floured surface, roll out the dough and cut into 10×10 cm (4×4 inch) squares. Spoon the túró mixture on top of each square. Pinch two opposite corners together first, then pinch the remaining two corners to seal the bundles. Place the bundles in a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Brush the tops with egg yolk and set aside to rise for about 20 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 180 °C and bake the bundles for 20 minutes or until golden brown.